Experiential Learning: How to Effectively Use to Improve Leader Development

by Kyle Swanson

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Strategic Opportunity:
To effectively navigate an increasingly dynamic world, companies are striving to be more agile in how they work, structure work, and deliver results through greater collaboration and innovation. The dynamics within many workplaces today requires individuals to act quickly while juggling competing commitments and priorities. In this environment where we are bound to choose wrong, make mistakes, and then figure out how to best move forward. Learning from experience has never been more important. 

Through this talk we will explore how we can begin to equip individuals to learn from every experience in very intentional ways – formally and informally. We will explore what gets in the way of learning from experience and how we – as learning professionals – can contribute towards eroding those barriers. Finally, we will explore some specific practices to design for experiential learning.

Learning Solutions:
Learning from experience requires recognition and reflection. Recognizing who I am, what I have, and what I need to be successful. Recognizing the conditions in which I am at my best, or not. Through reflection in action, individuals can identify more clearly how to apply learning laterally, in new and different conditions, while adding skills and knowledge. By consistently and explicitly leveraging the processes of recognition and reflection in formal learning programs, we equip learners to apply them through informal learning experiences.

Lessons Learned: 
We can either blame and shame or credit and edit. We will discuss how psychological safety impacts defensiveness or openness.

We always experience, we don’t always learn. We will discuss how to leverage abstract experiences we create in a classroom AND external experiences learners bring into the classroom.

Whether it is an experience a learner had, or is about to have, recognition and reflection equip learners to move learning laterally and into the future.


Kyle Swanson
Kyle Swanson

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